South Park took an interesting turn for this week’s episode, bringing the focus back to Butters and his strange shenanigans. It might just be me, but I’ve felt as though the show has focused on Butters a lot more than it used to. Not that that’s a bad thing mind you; some of my favorite episodes focus around his alternate persona, Professor Chaos – but these more recent showings of our favorite naive blonde boy have come with lukewarm standing. “Going Native” is really no different from these recent outings, but at least it gives us a little more insight into Butters background while also showing off a bit of his angry side.
The episode starts off with Butters making a scene after beating up a kid with diabetes and then locking himself in the bathroom. The boys try and talk to him, but he immediately lashes out against all of them except for Kenny, whom he says is the only decent one of the lot. We soon find out though from Butter’s parents that the reasoning behind his sudden anger is because he has reached a certain point in his life where he must go through a ritual of returning to their homeland of Hawaii, where he was supposedly born. Butters thus goes to the island state on his own to complete this journey, but is shortly joined with Kenny after Butters is stopped at the airport for being too out of control. Kenny thus accompanies him to Hawaii, where they experience the “natives” and their battle with the rest of the country over their rights to live there.
The whole story is mildly entertaining, given that the so-called natives are actually just regular white people with delusions that they are natives because of the ten or so years they’ve been living there. That is, the 3 months out of every of those ten years that they come to live in their timeshare. All of the traditional elements that they speak of are really just fruity cocktails, saimin, and playing lawn sports by the poolside. The problem though is that one-third through the episode the whole joke of it all becomes rather stale. We get it! You think that you’re all indigenous people of the island and that you have a right to have access to your Mahalo Rewards Points. What was especially funny about this though, even more so than the whole joke itself, was seeing the actual natives give them snide, dirty looks when they were talking about their nativity. I mean, come on, you’re all just a bunch of white assholes. This all culminated with what was a pretty damn stupid and irrelevant complaint on the side of Butters – the source of his anger was that Ben Affleck has it all and he hates him for it, when in fact he doesn’t and Butters was just misguided in his thoughts. It was a stupid addition that acted as an out-of-left-field explanation for his anger.
Beyond the whole singular arc and joke of the story though, there were some other great moments that really saved the episode from just coming off as mundane. The highlight was most definitely the scene where Kenny was writing his note to Kyle, Stan, and Cartman, which was narrated in a very formal and almost British sounding voice that led to some perplexed reactions from the boys. And of course, there was also the sinking of the cruise ship that was caused by Butters, which played out like a sped up rendition of the sinking of the Titanic. Can’t forget about Elvis’ cameo as well!
All in all, this was a decent episode of South Park. Despite the singular nature of the jokes and the story line itself, there were some laughable moments to be had. It was definitely fun to watch despite these shortcomings, although I still think that Butters is becoming a bit too convoluted of a character. I really think it’s time that the show takes that next step where it needs to go to be able to portray fresh jokes and ideas, much like how they did when they pushed the boys into a new grade. As always, I’m looking forward to next week’s episode and what it brings, but I just hope that it comes with something more outrageous than Butters being a “native” of Hawaii.
6.5 out of 10